I thought I would start with that because we need to begin with the end in mind, and in the end, when all is said and done, you need to know that you’re worthy.
Before we get too woo-woo though let’s get a few things out of the way…
We all suffer from Impostor Syndrome. All of us – 100% of the humans. It is simply unavoidable.
This is because it is actually a survival mechanism. It’s ingrained in our DNA to help SAVE us, and it goes WAY back. Like caveman days, back.
See here’s the deal: We have an innate need to feel worthy. We have to feel that other people will like (actually, LOVE) us enough to want to keep us around. Why? Because back in the caveman days if we were not worthy of being kept around, we were thrown out of the cave and eaten by a saber toothed tiger. See? Survival. And it hasn’t gone away.
I’m not here to dive deep into your relationships with family, friends and loved ones – this is coaching, not therapy. But I’m happy to talk about how Impostor Syndrome works its way into our businesses and what we can do about that.
So how does this affect our business?
Well, first, let’s think about our sales process. Sales is about convincing a prospective customer that you and your team are the right solution for them and their needs. But enter into the conversation feeling a lack of worth and you’re setting yourself up for failure for sure.
What about actually doing the thing? Delivery. How many times have you felt “I simply can’t do this. Who am I to think that I can get the results that my clients need? Who do I think I am?” This of course can cause you to procrastinate, or put off doing the hard things you need to do, because you don’t feel you’re capable. That’s impostor syndrome.
Where else can impostor syndrome creep in? Writing copy? Yup. Managing your team? Yup. Setting your prices? Duh.Recording or guesting on a podcast – well of course.
So what do we do about it?
Well, the first step to overcoming impostor syndrome is to simply recognize it, and then remember that we ALL have it and why. If you remind yourself that this is just a thing your brain does (and everyone else’s brain too) to keep you from taking risks, then you’re halfway there.
Once you spot it, you just have to rebel against it. Look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself out-loud that “this is just silly old impostor syndrome peeking up to try to get in the way – I’m not going to let that happen because I KNOW I can do this and do it right, and here’s how….” Then tell yourself HOW you’re going to do the thing (whatever that thing is). Then just friggin DO IT.
Here are a few tricks that you can do every day that will help you more easily overcome impostor syndrome every time you recognize it.
- Self Affirmation in Third Person.
I wrote down about 10 self affirmation phrases once a while ago, and now every day I repeat two of them to myself in the morning. But there’s a trick – it MUST be in the third person, and it MUST be out loud.
For instance, you don’t say “I am a great husband and father”. Instead you say “Pete is a great husband and father”. It hits differently. Try it both ways OUT LOUD right now. Just pick something that’s important to you, and say it out loud both ways (first person, and then third person).
- Wins Journal
Keep a Google Doc called Wins that is easy to get to, and every day before the end of the day, jot down the things you accomplished. Especially the big things. Have a separate page for good things people said about you (clients, team, colleagues, friends). Write those down word-for-word and put a date on them.
Now, every time you are doubting yourself, refer back to the Wins Journal and read what you’ve done, and read the impact you’ve had on others.
Then go do the thing.
We go out of our way sometimes to let other people know when they did a great job. We have confidence in other people around us to take care of the things they are responsible for. We need to give ourselves that same level of respect and faith.
Another Great Tool
I had a friend who suffered from impostor syndrome and realized it was really holding her back. She decided to take these steps:
- She named it. She named it a name that she didn’t care for (in this case based on a television character that was kind of a twit.) She named it Sharon.
- Whenever she was doubting herself, she told “Sharon”, OUT LOUD, to beat it. Literally would say “Sharon get the hell out of here right now”
- She’d physically dismiss “Sharon” from the room by getting up, opening the door, pointing outside, and slamming the door shut as she walked back to her desk.
After a while, “Sharon” stopped coming around so much. She would still show up every now and again (like the time I asked my friend to get on stage and talk about impostor syndrome!) but she was quickly shown the door and asked to leave – and she always leaves when told.
You can do this.
You are worthy, and you can do this.